It's time for journalists to start taking Daylight Saving Time seriously.
I've been the leading activist on ending the clock-changing mandate for a couple of years now, and one of the things I do is monitor every story that comes out about DST.
Look, I was a journalist for a long time. I know how easy it is to think that Big Issues like the state budget deficit or entitlements or whatever are the ones that everyone SHOULD be reading because they are Important.
But if you pay any attention at all to actual readers, nobody is reading those stories.
What they read, and what they care about, is issues that they can understand, and when it comes to politics they want to read about things that they think can actually be fixed.
Daylight Saving Time is just such an issue.
In the last couple of weeks I've seen two particularly egregious examples.
The first comes from Curtis Haring of Utah Political Capitol.
It's dripping with ugly sarcasm. Example: "… the unbearable burden of having to spring forward and then fall back every year."
- You, Curtis, don't get to decide what's Important, and what's not.
- Dozens of people die because of the time change (heart attacks, traffic accidents, workplace accidents, etc.). Your words are just cruel to the surviving families.
- You story makes it seem that those working on this are doing it to the exclusion of all else. That's just wrong. In all 50 states there are hundreds of bills. They all get their due. The state legislators working on this just want to fix something that the government does that's clearly broken. That's why they ran in the first place, to fix stuff.
Perhaps most upsetting to me is how this story chastises Rep. Norm Thurston. I haven't met him, but looking around online it's clear he's an honorable guy trying to do the right thing. You point out, correctly, that previous efforts on this topic have died, but then you lay in to Rep. Thurston for the sin of trying again with a different tactic.
Trying something new is to be applauded. You, Curtis, seem only interested in gridlock.
Shame on you, Curtis Haring. Shame.
And kudos to Rep. Thurston. I look forward to the progress that your new thinking will bring to this issue!
Here is another one that is not so upsetting, but is way more pathetic. Hey, Brett Barrouquere, I know time is tight for reporters, much so more than when I was one. Still, that's no excuse to write, "Nearly all of the United States - except Arizona and Hawaii (because they want to be different) - observe Daylight Saving Time."
In fact, Arizona and Hawaii want much more than to just be different, what they want is to not have to change the clocks twice per year without a good reason to do so, and so they were able to keep their time zones because they were in place before the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Also your flip "yes, that's a real thing" about that act is unbecoming of a reporter talking about federal law. It makes sense that the government is involved in the setting of time. Would you rather that we go back to a time when every town in the world set the clock how it wanted?
If people in the 1800s could figure out that uniform time is needed for transportation by train, certainly you could figure that out, too, Brett, here in the 21st century.
Message to reporters
In short, if you are a reporter thinking about covering this, you should know that this is a serious policy issue.
It certainly has its fun and funny sides, and I celebrate those as much as anyone, but I do it with respect for the policy implications that simmer under the surface.
Fixing the time does not have big-money interests behind it, so it's left to us — a band of citizens, part-time legislators, and other activists — to make the case. If this was a good or bad thing for Monsanto or the Trial Lawyers, etc., you better believe that it would have lots of great lobbying being done and you would not be so flip or so dismissive.
The future, the old saying goes, does not have a lobbyist.
In this case, however, it does. It has me, and it has the will of the people.
I'll be watching and calling you out by name if you don't treat Daylight Saving Time like the serious issue that it is.